If you believe the personal finance blog-o-net, the side hustle is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Do you know how people ate bread before they sliced it? IN CHUNKS LIKE A BUNCH OF G.D. CANNIBALS.
This seems like a good time to segue into some posts I wrote about side hustles, including 10 you can totally do and some overrated ones that you should avoid. The ones you should avoid is actually funny! Really! What, you don’t believe exclamation points!?
I’m generally in favor of the side hustle. Most people squander their leisure time anyway, and fun hobbies are expensive. Have you gone golfing lately? They literally tip you upside down and collect all the money that falls out.
But at the same time, I think people need to be smarter about what they decide to do on the side.
An overrated side hustle
I have two friends who ref sports on evenings and weekends.
One makes less than $20 per hour at his day job, the other makes at least $30 per hour and likely close to $40 per hour, depending on how many hours he works. He definitely works more than the first guy, anyway.
And yet both are driving around the country on weekends, reffing sports for $20 to $25 per hour.
The first guy should be reffing all day long. If he’s willing to exchange his time at $17 per hour at work, then $25 per hour reffing is great. Hell, reffing should almost get priority.
But how about the other guy? What’s the thought process there?
The answer is pretty simple. He likes to get yelled at by teenagers and overzealous coaches, for some reason. He’s a sports nut, and getting paid to watch sports is a good time for him. Excluding all the yelling, anyway.
And so that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with doing something you enjoy and getting paid for it, provided you don’t piss off the $40 per hour boss.
If we look at it from a purely economic perspective though, a different picture starts to emerge. Instead of exchanging his time for $20 or $25 per hour, he should really be looking for ways to make more money at his day job. Evening and weekend hours are precious. They should be exchanged for more money, not less.
One of the reasons why we love side hustles is because they allow us to diversify our income. I’m a big fan of multiple revenue streams. That’s why I invest every spare nickel I can into cash-producing investments. I heart me some cash flow baby.
But just because diversity is important it doesn’t mean it’s the only thing.
Damn near every job has the potential to take on additional work for extra money. Overtime is very much a thing. And even if your job doesn’t offer it, there are still ways to leverage your professional knowledge into getting paid the most for a side hustle.
Overtime at work is paid at a higher rate than your normal wage. Employers get that extra hours should be paid more. Why shouldn’t regular folks demand the same for their side hustle?
Having another income source is great on the off chance you get fired from your job. But it’s super easy to create your own passive income stream by making bank working overtime at your day job and investing the proceeds.
Let’s wrap it up
Ultimately, it comes down to this. Your time has value. If it didn’t, you’d exchange it for 2-for-1 coupons at the Golden Corral. Actually, I’ve done that before. Bad example.
I realize there are often non-economic reasons for people doing what they do. Side hustles fall into that category more often than not. They’re fun, in other words. I know I felt that way about writing stuff.
But that doesn’t give people a pass on analyzing the economic viability of their favorite side hustle. Often, the best way to exchange your time for more money is by taking overtime at work or leveraging your professional skills. It’s not in doing something completely different. Remember that before taking that evenings and weekends job.